Glasgow Ice Centre is pleased to announce Team GB Ice Hockey coach Pete Russell as new Ambassador. Liz Burton-King asked Pete Russell about his life in ice hockey and what he thinks of a new ice centre for Glasgow.
Pete Russell is currently head coach of the Great Britain men’s national ice hockey team and also of “Wolfe” EHC Freiburg, a professional team based in the 5,800 seat Franz Siegel Stadion in southern Germany. He is the most successful coach in GB history at both senior and junior level, with 11 medals including six gold medals.
Born in Bellshill ten miles south east of Glasgow and brought up in Ayr, he remembers with fondness the great many hours spent at Ayr Ice Rink growing up learning to skate and playing hockey. He made his debut with Ayr Raiders in 1990 just before they moved to the (now closed) Centrum Arena in Prestwick. Too young to remember the old Ayr Ice Rink by the station in Beresford Place, he is nonetheless well aware of the difference those big arenas made to the area – and more to the point the emptiness left behind when they went. A vibrant facility with multiple ice sports and lots going on is definitely something he’d like to see come to Glasgow.
Being able to host excellent participants in all sports is something he sees as key. Not everyone can or wants to play football in Scotland – Ice hockey provides a great family environment – it’s fun, energetic, exciting and highly recommended!
If there’s a Pro hockey team in place, the juniors and the amateurs will have something to aspire to – and support – and the same is true of all the ice sports.
Even getting a glimpse of athletes with world-level potential is something that in his experience can inspire others to achieve their potential and reach for excellence in their own practice.
If Glasgow Ice Centre could be a centre of excellence for as many ice sports as possible, Pete feels it would be a massive boost to the city, and the UK as a whole.
Great programming is essential for bringing it all together – he remembers how brilliantly Canadian Kevin Bursey managed this at Centrum. He taught Pete a great deal about how to put good programmes in place and believes we can do this for curling and ice skating as well as hockey – we’re making all the right connections and checking to see just how much we can do that will be financially viable. We’ve got the catchment area – build it and they will come to the ice!
Now working in Germany, Pete understands how important – and possible – a green agenda can be for ice sports. Traditionally seen as big energy wasters, this no longer needs to be the case – there are super-efficient ice centres being built around the world and with Glasgow City Council having set a target of being carbon neutral by 2030, it’s never more important to tap into the ice sport community resources around the world.
We’re delighted to have Pete Russell’s support for a new Glasgow Ice Centre and proud to announce him as our latest Ambassador. This year has been challenging for all of us, but if we all work together, we might just build something really special and create a fun future for hundreds of thousands of people.
Photo Credits: Dean Woolley